travel hats

Posts Tagged wicking

Exofficio Sol Cool Ultimate Hoody

I have a new best friend for water play and summer travel! The Exofficio Sol Cool Ultimate Hoody is the latest from Exofficio’s Sol Cool line, utilizing the company’s Icefil treated fabric and offering sun protection up to UPF 50+. Like all Sol Cool products, this hoody breathes wonderfully: on a hot day, it wicks away sweat so well, I’d rather be wearing it than nothing but a swim suit.


The ultimate hoody is more than just a swim cover-up (though it does that well, too): you get underarm mesh ventilation, which means it performs well while river rafting, kayaking, and just about any other activity on or around the water. There’s a nicely sized security zip pocket for keys or a room card, and side cinches that can give you a roomier fit or slimmer fit.

The full-sized hood is just as light as the rest of the hoody, and includes a drawcord for a nice fit when needed. I wore mine with a hood on a particularly hot day in Death Valley National Park less than a week ago: I pulled the hood up over my sun hat to keep the sun off the back of my neck. I also appreciated the thumb loops and the fact that Sol Cool fabric is odor-resistant (or perhaps the others in my party appreciated that even more than me).

The hoody is form-fitting without being clingy, as it’s made from 91% polyester and 9% spandex, and comes in XS-XL in Oyster (kind of a gray), Pizazz (pink) and Varsity (dark blue). Trust me, if you like the hoody, you’ll be back to Exofficio to purchase more from the Sol Cool line. You’ll pay $75 for the ultimate hoody, but will wear it nearly daily when traveling on water or in humid, hot environments. Find it on Amazon and Moosejaw as well, for a bit less.

See Tim’s earlier review of the Sol Cool Hoody for Men.

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New Travel Underwear From ExOfficio

ExOfficio travel underwearWhen ExOfficio debuted its travel underwear some eight years ago, you could have any color you wanted as long as you wanted black or gray. Like the “minimum viable product” touted in The Lean Startup, this test was a raging success as frequent travelers like me snatched them up and spread the word. Each year since, more colors and designs have rolled out the door.

The women have had more varieties to choose from than the men since, let’s face it, we’re not known to be all that particular about the color of our underwear. I’ve been trying out some new styles lately in my travels, however, refreshing the underwear pocket of my bag with some fresh looks.

Give-N-Go Travel Briefs

First up, the Give-N-Go briefs, which now come in 12 different colors. You gotta like the names: stop, go, rescue (pictured here), and curfew, for example. No, I haven’t been reading Men’s Health enough to get abs like the model in that photo, but I do tend to use briefs more than boxers, so I pack these for every trip. They pack tight, which is always good, but the main reason ExOfficio sells these by the truckload is that you can wash them in the sink at night and have dry drawers by morning. Heck, an hour if you put them in the afternoon sun.

These briefs are extremely comfortable and built to last. I’ve got a pair of boxers I’ve had since 30-some country visits ago and I’m sure these will be around just as many years. You can get them direct from the company for $20 or less or order them from Moosejaw.

Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs

ExOfficio Sport BriefWhen some people think of travel they picture cocktails on the beach and swinging in a hammock. Others look at that as torture and would rather be shredding a trail on a mountain bike, climbing rocks, or hiking 15 miles a day through the wilderness.

This underwear is for them. More like what athletes would wear than sidewalk surfers, these stretchy wicking briefs are for active pursuits where you need some support. Like all the Give-N-Go options, they’re treated to be odor-resistant as well. Made from nylon and lycra, they add almost no weight to your bag. Although these have more fabric than the regular boxers or briefs, they still compress down small. You can get the 6-inch length pictured here or longer 9-inch ones.

The Sport Mesh Boxer Briefs come in three colors, but I’m sure if they do well you’ll be seeing more down the line. They retail for $30. Get them direct from ExOfficio or from REI.

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Fast-drying Travel Underwear from Tilley

tilley-underwearYou don’t usually see travel underwear reviews in the likes of Outside or Travel + Leisure magazines, but we’ve covered the options multiple times here on Practical Travel Gear because you wear underwear every day. If you’re traveling light for 12 days, you don’t necessarily want to carry 12 sets of undies. Especially in a carry-on.

So for people who are good at packing light, fast-drying underwear is something they toss in the bag every time. The idea is that you take half or less the number of days you need, then do a sink wash along the way when needed. (Hint, shampoo is  a detergent if you don’t want to carry laundry detergent specifically.) If you’re carrying the right kind of undies, like this underwear from Tilley, then what you wash before bed will be dry by morning.

I like to give my travel gear a good workout before I write up my review, so two pairs of Tilley underwear have traveled with me to Colombia, Ecuador, Veracruz, the Riviera Maya, and Louisiana. They almost felt like normal cotton when on my body, but when I needed to wash them they easily dried overnight. In the sun, they’ll dry in an hour.

They’re not normal cotton though—they’re 100% polyester. They would fool you though as they definitely don’t feel clingy and slick or make you feel like you went back in time to sing for the Bee Gees. They wick moisture, but they’ve also got some absorbancy, which is important for a lot of reasons…

These Tilley Travel Briefs retail for $20, which is certainly more than you’ll pay for a pair of Hanes at Target. But they’ll last you a lot longer and will help you pack light in your travels over and over again—while still remaining comfortable on the move.

This travel underwear comes in white and gray. Get it direct from Tilley in six sizes or order from or Amazon.

See this older review of the Coolmax underwear versions if you’re headed to a really hot climate.


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Equatorial Travel Pants From Mountain Khakis

Equatorial pants reviewLightweight, quick-drying, rugged, and comfortable, the Mountain Khakis Equatorial pants check off all the right boxes.

Here at Practical Travel Gear we’ve probably reviewed more pairs of travel pants than any other blog or website on the planet. So when we give a pair of them a big thumbs up, you can be assured they hold up well against some tough competition.

Mountain Khakis is best known as the company producing rugged, last a lifetime western wear for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Over the past few years though they’ve become a major force in more casual wear and travel clothing that is lighter, but has the same high quality. We’ve reviewed quite a few of their travel shirts and MK women’s travel clothing in that department. These Equatorial Pants are a further evolution and I highly recommend them.

First of all, they’re incredibly lightweight, which is great for both packing light and traveling to hot destinations where shorts are not really acceptable. (You don’t realize until you go traveling around the world that hardly any country’s men wear shorts as much as men here in the USA.) These travel pants weigh in at just 3.7 ounces, which is probably less than some of your t-shirts. So they take up almost no room in your bag and don’t but a smidgen of weight.

Despite that, they’re super-strong, with such a high-density weave that they’ll repel stains and drizzles, and also provide an impressive 50+ UVA/UVB sun protection. Naturally they dry super-quickly. When I hung them outside in the high desert of central Mexico, they were dry and hour later. So overnight shouldn’t be an issue in most climates.

Mountain Khakis travel pantsThese are quite secure travel pants in two ways: you’ve got hidden zipper pockets that are two of six total to keep away sticky fingers. Then you’ve got a snap cuff on the bottom of the pants to keep out pesky mosquitoes. Consider it extra malaria insurance in the tropics.

I’ve usually got something to gripe about with even the best products we try out, but I can’t find fault with these Mountain Khakis Equatorial Pants unless it’s to caution you they’re probably too thin for cold weather trips. But that’s true for any of these lightweight nylon ones.

Get them in three easy-match colors and multiple waist/length combinations at Mountain Khakis, at Backcountry, or Altrec.

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P-Cubed Travel Shirt From Clothing Arts

pickpocket proof shirtWant to have the advantages of one of those travel wallets that hang around your neck without the neck thing? The pockets on this Pickpocket Proof Shirt will keep your valuables next to you and safe.

These shirts aren’t quite as heavy-duty Pickpocket Proof as the P^Cubed pants because they’re not meant to make you look like you’re wearing a ScotteVest. Instead there are just two chest pockets that look normal.

They’re not quite normal though, because both are two pockets in one. The outside pocket is secured with a button, while the inside pocket is a hidden zipper one that’s not visible from the outside. It has a tiny zipper pull the same color as the shirt, plus the seam seals up when it’s zipped closed, so even with the button flap open nobody is going to know it’s there without pulling your pocket open and looking.

P^cubed shirtThese shirt pockets would be the ideal place to store your cash and a credit card you need immediate access to—in several different spots. Or you can keep your passport and the rest of your valuables safely stored away in the P^Cubed pants. For once a matchy-matchy outfit would serve a real purpose. These look similar to other travel shirts you’ve seen though, so it’s not like anyone is going to know they’re the same brand as your pants.

What sets these apart from the competition is the feel of the fabric. Clothing Arts’ “Nature-like Nylon” is softer and more comfortable than the usual rugged but swishy nylon. The fabric has the same properties you want in a travel shirt though: moisture wicking, quick drying, and lightweight. It just feels better.

I’ve worn my sample long-sleeve shirt on a couple trips to cool climates and have been really happy with how it felt and performed. I like how it doesn’t scream “I’m an explorer,” even if that does mean there’s no button on the sleeve for rolling it up and converting it to a short-sleeve. It’s just a nice shirt with a secret.

These Clothing Arts travel shirts are just rolling off the production line and getting into the marketplace, but you can buy direct at that link for $70 (in white, tan, or dark gray) or wait until fall and find them in more locations.

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